The Most Amazing Space Photos This Week!


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The Most Amazing Space Photos This Week!

Mesmerizing Clouds of Saturn

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Kevin M. Gill/Flickr

Boeing’s Heat Shield Put to the Test

Credit: Boeing

Photos: Book Fragments from Blackbeard’s Ship


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Photos: Book Fragments from Blackbeard’s Ship

Blackbeard cannon chamber

Credit: Courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

5 Major Archaeology Discoveries to Look for in 2018


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5 Major Archaeology Discoveries to Look for in 2018

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5 Major Archaeology Discoveries to Look for in 2018

The Dead Sea Scrolls on display at Qumran in 2010.

Credit: Shutterstock

The burial of a warrior who lived and (literally) died by the sword, a new tomb in the Valley of the Kings and a cave that may have held Dead Sea Scrolls — these are just some of the big archaeology and history stories that we think we may hear about in 2018. Look back at the predictions for2017 and 2016 to see our track record.

The tomb of a warrior who was killed by the slice of a sword has already been discovered in Greece. At least four other people were buried with the warrior. The five people were buried with gold and silver rings, ivory-handled swords, a gold-decorated dagger and many other artifacts.

Yet the public never heard a word about this fantastic discovery because the area where the tomb is located has been hit hard by looters. Archaeologists do not want to disclose information about the tomb until excavations are finished and the site can be better secured.

In 2018, the security situation may improve enough for this discovery to be discussed in more detail. Until then, no pictures have been released, and Live Science decided not to publish the site’s location or more information. [The 25 Most Mysterious Archaeological Finds on Earth]

In 2017, a new Dead Sea Scrolls cave was found near the site of Qumran. The cave had been plundered in the 1950s or 1960s, but archaeologists found a blank scroll when they excavated it recently. This is the 12th cave found near Qumran that once held Dead Sea Scrolls. The other 11 caves were discovered in the 1940s and 1950s. [In Photos: New Dead Sea Scrolls Revealed]

The discovery of the 12th cave made headlines around the world, but that find is unlikely to be the end of the story. The team that found the 12th cave is surveying several other caves that could potentially hold additional Dead Sea Scrolls, Live Science has learned. This survey is being carried out as part of a larger project by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). The IAA is racing to identify and excavate any caves in the Judaean Desert that may contain archaeological remains, because several looters operating in the Judaean Desert have been caught by authorities over the past few years. Some of the looters were found carrying the remains of possible scrolls.

Given that the survey is ongoing and that several potential Dead Sea Scrolls caves have already been identified, it wouldn’t be surprising to see in 2018 that a 13th Dead Sea Scroll has been discovered near Qumran.

2017 brought news of some fantastic prehistoric-site discoveries in Saudi Arabia. In August, Live Science reported that 46 prehistoric sites, some possibly more than 1 million years old, had been discovered in Saudi Arabia. The findings were made by researchers with the Palaeodeserts Project, which aims to better understand Saudi Arabia’s human and environmental past.

In October, another archaeological team reported that they had found 400 mysterious rectangular structures that archaeologists call “gates” (named for their resemblance to field gates) in Saudi Arabia, and within a few days, the team was invited to take low-flying aerial photographs and conduct on-the-ground research. Nearly 6,000 aerial photographs and a large amount of data are currently being analyzed. [Photos: Aerial Views of Ancient Stone Structures in Saudi Arabia]

In November 2017, the country held the “1st Saudi Archaeology Convention,” in which research from across the kingdom was presented. In 2018, we can expect to hear of new prehistoric-site discoveries, as well as finds from more recent time periods, in Saudi Arabia.

Four I-type gates, as archaeologists call them, can be seen in this photo.
Four I-type gates, as archaeologists call them, can be seen in this photo.

Credit: 1- APAAME, APAAME_20171027_DLK-0298

 

Much research has been going on in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings in recent years, and 2018 may see new discoveries in the valley.

In July, Live Science reported that archaeologists had identified an area near the tomb of the pharaoh Ay (1327-1323 B.C.) that has four foundation deposits and a radar reading that could indicate the presence of a tomb. Another group of archaeologists has carried out surveys of the western part of the Valley of the Kings in recent years. A third team, this one from the University of Basel, in Switzerland, is currently analyzing and publishing the finds from KV 40, a tomb in the Valley of the Kings where dozens of mummies were discovered in 2014.

Additionally, Live Science has received unconfirmed reports of fieldwork going on right now in the Valley of the Kings that may lead to the discovery of a new tomb. Given all of this activity, it’s quite possible that 2018 will bring stunning new discoveries, possibly including that of a new tomb, in the Valley of the Kings.

In 2018, scientists will be working on many technologies and solutions to address the worldwide problem of looting. They include robots that can go into dangerous looter tunnels and assess damage that looters have done, dogs that sniff out artifacts that are being smuggled into the U.S., and software that can identify stolen artwork that thieves are trying to sell.

Countries that are dealing with wars and economic and political strife are hit the hardest by looting. Looters have gunned down antiquities guards, and children have been killed while working (typically for little money) in narrow tunnels.

Originally published on Live Science.

The Most Interesting Science News Articles of the Week


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The Most Interesting Science News Articles of the Week

Each week we uncover the most interesting and informative articles from around the world, here are 10 of the coolest stories in science this week.

This flat metalens can focus nearly the entire visible spectrum of light in the same spot and in high resolution.

This flat metalens can focus nearly the entire visible spectrum of light in the same spot and in high resolution.

Credit: Jared Sisler/Harvard SEAS

Physics could soon make it possible to replace those bulky, heavy, glass lenses on cameras with wafer-thin “metalenses” — materials microscopically engineered to focus light at a fraction of the weight and size of traditional lensing.

A metalens takes a different approach to focusing light. Instead of exploiting the diffraction properties of glass, a metalens uses nanofins — tiny structures, typically made of titanium dioxide — to bend wavelengths toward the metalens focal point. [Read more about the technology.]

Text of one paper fragment is shown matched to text from a page in Edward Cooke's 1712 travelogue and adventure tale.

Text of one paper fragment is shown matched to text from a page in Edward Cooke’s 1712 travelogue and adventure tale.

Credit: Courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

A discovery from the wreck of Blackbeard’s ship could offer some insights into pirate reading tastes. [Read more about the discovery.]

A team of researchers in New Zealand is working to make an astonishing and mysterious medieval document available for public consumption.

The first results of the researchers’ work already appear online in an interactive version of the scroll, where individual passages come alive with their translations as readers zoom and click on them. [Read more about the scroll.]

When water levels in the pond are low, the Tetzacualco can be seen.

When water levels in the pond are low, the Tetzacualco can be seen.

Credit: Arturo Cruz, Terrasat Cartografía

A 1,000-year-old stone structure in Mexico may represent how some people in ancient Mesoamerica believed the Earth was created, an archaeologist suggests.

Given what the archaeologists have found so far, Hernández Bautista hypothesizes that the Tetzacualco’s large size and location in the middle of a pond mean that the structure is an attempt to represent a mythical creature known as Cipactli or Çipaqli, a fish monster from which the gods created the Earth, according to some ancient Mesoamerican legends. [Read more about the ancient structure.]

A photo reveals the face of the thin clay seal.

A photo reveals the face of the thin clay seal.

Credit: Courtesy of the Israeli Antiquities Authority

Archaeologists have discovered a 2,700-year-old clay stamp near Jerusalem’s Western Wall that seems to shed some light on the political structure of the ancient society that inhabited the city.

The 0.5 by 0.6-inch (13 by 15 millimeters) clay stamp depicts two figures facing one another above archaic Hebrew script that reads “לשרער” (roughly: l’sar’ir). The researchers said that the word is a condensed version of the phrase “לשר העיר,” (l’sar ha-ir) which means “belonging to the governor of the city.” [Read more about the piece of clay.]

Satellite data enables scientists to map the seafloor, which is sinking under the weight of rising seas. (This map shows gravity anomalies in the western Indian Ocean.

Satellite data enables scientists to map the seafloor, which is sinking under the weight of rising seas. (This map shows gravity anomalies in the western Indian Ocean.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

The bottom of the ocean is more of a “sunken place” than it used to be.

Scientists have long known that Earth’s crust, or outer layer, is elastic: Earlier research revealed how Earth’s surface warps in response to tidal movements that redistribute masses of water; and 2017’s Hurricane Harvey dumped so much water on Texas that the ground dropped 0.8 inches (2 centimeters), the Atlantic reported. [Read more about the ocean bottom.]

An artist's illustration depicting a hypothetical dust ring orbiting Tabby's star, more formally known as KIC 846.

An artist’s illustration depicting a hypothetical dust ring orbiting Tabby’s star, more formally known as KIC 846.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Well, we always knew the alien-megastructure idea was a long shot.

For the past two-plus years, astronomers have been trying to figure out what, exactly, is going on with Tabby’s star. A number of potential explanations have been floated, from orbiting comet fragments, to a huge dust cloud between Earth and KIC 8462852, to energy-collecting structures built by an advanced alien civilization. [Read more about alien megastructure.]

Would you like your water sparkling, from the tap or hauled out of an unsterilized river upstate? For proponents of the expensive new drinking trend known as “raw water,” the choice is as clear as a Poland Spring.

According to the Times, part of the movement’s success may come from that very “off the grid” appeal: Raw water passes through no federal or municipal pipes, contains no additives (such as fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral typically added to tap water to fight tooth decay), and generally receives no filtration, ensuring every bottle remains as mineral-rich as Mother Nature intended. [Read more about the trend.]

Discovery and excavation of the Upward Sun River infants

Discovery and excavation of the Upward Sun River infants

Credit: Ben Potter

A genetic analysis of a baby’s remains dating back 11,500 years suggests that a previously unknown human population was among the first to settle in the Americas.

Many thousands of years ago, the site where the infant lived — albeit briefly — and died was a residential camp with three tent-like structures. [Read more about the first Americans.]

Researchers use a highly sensitive imaging system to examine a coffin lid.

Researchers use a highly sensitive imaging system to examine a coffin lid.

Credit: Copyright Cerys Jones

About 2,000 years ago, ancient Egyptians made homemade wrappings for mummies from “recycled” scraps of paper that people had first used to scribble down shopping lists and personal notes.

In ancient Egypt, mummies were embalmed and then wrapped in fabric bandages. Then, they were covered with cartonnage, a paper-mache material made from recycled papyri and sometimes fabric, Gibson said. Once the cartonnage hardened and was covered with plaster, artisans painted it. [Read more about the camera.]

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Amazing Images: The Best Science Photos of the Week


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Amazing Images: The Best Science Photos of the Week

 Each week we find the most interesting and informative articles we can and along the way we uncover amazing and cool images. Here you’ll discover 10 incredible photos and the stories behind them.

Falling Iguanas:

It’s snowing iguanas in Florida. The good news is they probably aren’t dead.

[Full Story: Watch for Falling Iguanas! Bomb Cyclone Drops Frozen Lizards]


Tooooo Cold:

The “bomb cyclone,” with its whipping winds and foot-plus snowdrifts, has passed. So what gives?

[Full Story: Brrrr! Why It’s So $#%*! Cold]


Losing Oxygen:

Oxygen is draining from the oceans, and oxygen-depleted “dead zones” are on the rise.

[Full Story: The Ocean Is Suffocating, and It’s Our Fault]


Icy Waves:

There’s one upside to the frigid weather: gorgeous slushy waves.

[Full Story: Surf’s Frozen? Slurpee Waves Spotted on Nantucket Beach]


Earth Under Seige:

As a powerful bomb cyclone winter storm curls across the U.S. East Coast this morning (Jan. 4), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) GOES-East satellite is snapping stunning images of the Earth’s surface.

[Full Story: ‘Bomb Cyclone’ Swirls Across US East Coast in a Stunning View of Earth]


Snow in Florida:

It may not be much – just 0.1 inches (0.25 centimeters) – but it’s the first measurable snowfall Tallahassee, Florida, has seen in 28 years.

[Full Story: Flaky Weather: Why Tallahassee Got Its 1st Measurable Snow in Decades]


Beauty on a Butt:

Behold the tiny, luminous badonkadonk that could further the field of optics.

[Full Story: ‘Nature’s Smallest Rainbow’ Found on Australian Spider’s Butt]


Effects of a Bomb:

An intense “bomb cyclone” is battering the U.S. East Coast today (Jan. 4), with high winds and intense snowfall forecast for the mid-Atlantic and northeastern states. See the latest views from NASA and NOAA here.

[Full Story: See the ‘Bomb Cyclone’ Hit US East Coast in These NASA and NOAA Gifs]


Overcoming a Disease:

For the past four years, a mysterious syndrome has been killing millions of sea stars along the West Coast, turning the five-armed critters into piles of goo. But now, the sea stars appear to be making a comeback, according to news reports.

[Full Story: Sea Stars Make a Comeback After Mysterious ‘Goo’ Disease Killed Millions]


Mapping the World:

Google Earth is an amazing trove of visuals from all over the planet, and new strange things turn up in it all the time. Here are the best from 2017.

[Full Story: 6 Strange Sites Spotted on Google Earth in 2017]